London Sinfonietta - Birtwistle, Knussen, Saed Haddad, Benjamin, Ligeti
London Sinfonietta in Birtwistle: Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum. Knussen: Songs without Voices. Haddad: In Contradiction. Benjamin: At First Light. Ligeti: Piano Concerto.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the London Sinfonietta, conducted by George Benjamin, play the Ligeti Piano Concerto.
Live from the Maltings, Snape
Harrison Birtwistle: Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum
Oliver Knussen: Songs without Voices
Saed Haddad: In Contradiction for two cellos and ensemble (UK premiere)
George Benjamin: At First Light
Ligeti: Piano Concerto
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
George Benjamin, conductor
Two heavyweight but luminous modern works are at the heart of the London Sinfonietta's collaboration with George Benjamin and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Ligeti's Piano Concerto, now strongly associated with Aimard's recordings, is filled in its fast movements with pounding cross-rhythms and dizzying virtuosity, while its slow movement yields to a desolate, lamenting abyss that lurks below the composer's dazzling surface.
'Dazzling' is also the key to Benjamin's At First Light, an evocation inspired by Turner's painting Norham Castle, Sunrise of a landscape in which all detail is washed out by overpowering light. Birtwistle and Knussen's works are both titled as 'songs', but where Birtwistle's is a rhythmic moto perpetuo in the vein of Ligeti's concerto, Knussen's miniatures are highly lyrical. The UK premiere of Jordan-born Haddad's mini-concerto for two cellos and ensemble completes the programme.
Followed by a chance to hear highlights from a Cardiff Singer of the World Masterclass given last week by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.